© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions about his article titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 13, 2021. Photo taken on July 13, 2021. Sputnik / Alexei Nikolskyi / Kremlin via REUTE
MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin offered his US counterpart Joe Biden in June the use of Russian military bases in Central Asia to gather intelligence on Afghanistan, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Saturday as US troops leave the country.
Taliban fighters have made significant progress as US forces withdraw after 20 years of war, a security headache for Moscow that fears the refugees may be pushed into its Central Asian backyard and southern defensive flank. destabilized.
In a rare offer during a period of cold relations between Washington and Moscow, Putin proposed in the June 16 talks with Biden in Geneva that they coordinate in Afghanistan and put Russia’s bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for “practical use.” Kommersant reported, citing sources.
The newspaper said this could involve the exchange of information obtained by drones, but that there has not been a concrete response from the United States. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the Biden administration was in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to temporarily host thousands of Afghans working with US forces and now facing threats from the Taliban, citing three sources familiar with the matter.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the withdrawal of the US-NATO alliance from Afghanistan made the political and military situation more uncertain, which in turn exacerbated the terrorist threat in the region.
Speaking at a conference with senior Central Asian officials in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, Lavrov said Russia wanted to help boost peace talks between the warring parties in Afghanistan.
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